"The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer." As a practice, it consists in coordination of four elements called 4P’s: (1) identification, selection, and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.
As a philosophy, marketing is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. Marketing differs from selling because (in the words of Harvard Business School’s emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt) 'Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs'."1
The essence of marketing is to understand your customers’ needs and develop a plan that meets those needs. There are four goals of marketing: acquiring more customers, persuading each customer to buy more products, persuading each customer to buy more expensive products or up selling each customer, and/or persuading each customer to buy more profitable products. All four of these areas can increase your revenue and profit, but it depends on your own business model and budget which you pursue.
There are only so many marketing resources
When it comes to your marketing strategy, keep in mind the importance of knowing your target. By taking time pitch your sales and marketing efforts to the correct niche market you will be more productive and not waste your efforts or time.
Perhaps it would be most effective for you to market by creating a well rounded program that combines sales activities with your marketing tactics. Your sales activities will not only decrease your out-of-pocket marketing expense but it also adds the value of interacting with your prospective customers and clients. This interaction will provide you with information that is priceless.
Here are a few other marketing tactics to consider:
- Participate in co-op advertising.
- Take some time to send your existing customers referrals and buying incentives.
- Tell memorable stories that provide specific and practical examples of what you have done for clients. Use real projects you completed or problems you solved. If you are new business owner, create realistic scenarios about how you would help your ideal client.
- Create a short (2-3 minutes) and compelling video that succinctly explains your product or service. This video not only informs, but entertains and/or personalizes you and your company. This can be done quickly and easily using a camera like a flip video. Then post the video to your site and as many video sharing sites as possible. The internet is a powerful marketing leveller!
By being diligent and consistent in your marketing and by creating real value for customers your business can grow, even during challenging economic times.
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